Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Blood in the Water by Juliet E McKenna

Date published January 2010
Publisher Solaris Books
Page numbers 416
Type of book Paperback 
Copy type Review copy

Science Fiction

Cushions = 2 (but it did take me a while to get into it)
Daggers = 4 (this is about a revolution and spends quite a bit of time on battlefields - this is an adult book)
Paperclips = 1 (there is very little romance in this book and the level is very low)

Gerry's recommended rating: ♥♥♥

Those exiles and rebels determined to bring peace to Lescar discover the true cost of war. 

Courage and friendships are tested to breaking point.

Who will pay such heartbreaking penalties for their boldness? Who will pay the ultimate price?
The dukes of Lescar aren't about to give up their wealth and power without a fight.They won't pass up any chance to advance their own interests either, if one of their rivals suffers in all this upheaval.

The duchesses have their own part to play, more subtle but no less deadly. (Synopsis from:

I somehow feel that I should have given this book more than 3 stars but I keep coming back to reason that it qualifies, for me, as a 3 star read.

The second of the Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution novels. The 'rebel' army of 'exiles' is moving on the Dukes to bring freedom to the people and rid them of high taxation by mercenary collectors that steal from them and cause other countless crimes.

The characters in the book have several different views of the rebellion. There is the rebel army and it's direct supporters, there is Lady Derenna and Lord Rousharn who want mainly to profit in some way from the rebellion, there are the Dukes who want to put the rebellion down, there is Duke Iruvain's wife - Litasse - who want Vengeance on the rebels for the death of her family and lover. Herein lies a problem that I encountered. There are many characters in the rebel cause and we jump between them, there are several characters in the Dukedoms and we jump between them and then there are the free spirits with their own axe to grind. It is difficult to keep track of who is who and what their take on the story is. It was not until page 212 that I understood what Litasses's motivations were. The reason is two fold as I see it. The first I hadn't read book 1 and the second is that we spend so much time hopping from character to character that we don't get a true picture of the character and their role in the story until quite late into the book. There are maps and lists of characters but they have no personality and distract from the reading.

Having said that from about page 250 I started to get drawn in and really enjoy the book - but that was half way through. 

I do believe that if I had read book 1 first then I would be giving more than 3 stars to this one but my experience is how often do you find book 1 and 2 together of any 'chronicles' in a bookshop? I have always found this a problem and believe each book needs to be able to stand by itself.

If you have read book one then I recommend this book as well worthy reading. If you haven't then have you read the synopsis above? Where does it imply we are going to read a fantasy involving magic? Yup - it doesn't and I found that a big surprise when I picked the book up.

Juliet E McKenna's website can be found here

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